During a federal holiday, all non-essential parts of the federal government is closed and the employees receive their usual pay. Unfortunately, it isn’t the same for private-sector employees. If a private-sector employee works during a holiday, they are likely to receive holiday pay. This bonus payment is usually twice as much of their normal hourly wage.
There are a total of 10 Federal Holidays declared by the United States government. Although the ways that each state observes might be different than one another, the observation dates is the same for all 50 states. During these holidays, not only federal agencies are closed but the stock market trading, most private banks, schools, and some medical centers (partially) as well.
List of Federal Holidays and Dates in 2020
- New Year’s Day – January 1st
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 20th
- Presidents Day – February 17th
- Memorial Day – May 25th
- Independence Day – July 3rd
- Labor Day – September 7th
- Columbus Day – October 12th
- Veterans Day – November 11th
- Thanksgiving Day – November 26th
- Christmas Day – December 25th
Federal Holiday Observations
January 1st – New Year’s Day
Celebrates the beginning of our calendar. It is usually observed on a preceding night by counting down to 12:00 midnight.
3rd Monday of January – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Honors the civil rights leader Martin Luther King who was actually born on January 15, 1929. While some cities hold parades in honor of him, some cities encourage Americans to participate in volunteer service. In 1994, the King Holiday and Service Act was passed. The MLK Day is also referred to as the National Day of Service.
3rd Monday of February – Washington’s Birthday
Also referred to as Presidents’ Day, it is celebrated in honor of George Washington, the United States’ first president, Founding Father, and military general. Although the name of the federal holiday indicates his birthday, the Uniform Holidays Act of 1968 shifted the date of the commemoration from February 22nd to the third Monday of February. So the holiday never falls on his actual birthday.
Last Monday of May – Memorial Day
Honors the nation’s most important heroes, the fallen soldiers from Civil War onwards. It also marks the unofficial beginning of the summer.
4th of July – Independence Day
The biggest holiday that is out there, the 4th of July or Independence Day. It celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from British rule.
1st Monday of September – Labor Day
In honor of the American labor movement and the union of laborers. On this day, most private-sector employees are off work and celebrated by holding parades.
2nd Monday of October – Columbus Day
Honors Christopher Columbus for exploring the Americas. In some areas of the country, instead of celebrating it by honoring Columbus, it is in celebration of Indigenous Peoples. During Columbus Day, stock trading is permitted, therefore, some banks in certain areas might be open.
November 11 – Veterans Day
Honors all of our war veterans. It is one of the two federal holidays where stock trading is permitted along with Columbus Day. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I.
4th Thursday of November – Thanksgiving Day
One of the main pillars of our nation, Thanksgiving remains as the most important holiday for family gatherings. Most notably, it is celebrated by sharing a turkey dinner with family and close friends.
December 25 – Christmas Day
Christians across the country celebrate the day in commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although it is a religious holiday, non-Christians alike celebrate it with various traditions.